With the exception of Loki‘s Season 1 finale, all of the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s live-action Phase Four projects so far have failed to stick the landing, offering up conclusions that underwhelmed rather than enthused.
The final episodes of WandaVision and The Falcon and the Winter Soldier are the lowest-rated installments on Rotten Tomatoes, with both shows rushing through a number of plot points too quickly and forcing in spectacle for the sake of it. On the big screen, Black Widow and Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings each favored CGI bombast over plot and character in their respective third acts, with the effects-heavy action seemingly an obligation.
Star Simu Liu has been taking note of the criticisms aimed at his debut as the MCU’s newest Avenger, and he took to his Instagram account to respond to the detractors who felt Shang-Chi‘s momentum was killed once Wenwu was shuffled off in favor of demons and dragons.
“A lot of people have been asking about our ending without giving too much away. I just want to say that I think it’s perfect for our story. We’ve seen Shaun embracing the parts of himself rather than rejecting it. And once he solves that central conflict within himself, he unlocks his full potential, which is to literally ride a dragon battle against a massive soul-sucking demon.”
You could make a very solid argument that if Marvel had made Black Widow and Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings for a lot less money you’d get a much more satisfying ending out of the deal, but the MCU feels compelled to regularly over-stuff its climactic showdowns, and that’s not going to change anytime soon.